WATCH | City of Cape Town nabs man after video of motorist having phone nicked off his lap goes viral

2019-10-17 16:27
A suspected robber was arrested on Thursday, hours after a motorist was robbed while sitting in his car at an intersection in Elsies River. The suspect's face was hidden in this image as he had not yet been formally charged.  (Supplied, JP Smith)

A suspected robber was arrested on Thursday, hours after a motorist was robbed while sitting in his car at an intersection in Elsies River. The suspect's face was hidden in this image as he had not yet been formally charged. (Supplied, JP Smith)

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A motorist who fell victim to a fleet-footed robber who snatched a cellphone from his lap while he waited for a traffic light to change caught a lucky break when his ordeal was caught on camera, with the footage used to catch the alleged suspect.

A video which circulated on social media on Thursday morning was used by members of the City of Cape Town's law enforcement unit to find the man within one hour of the clips being sent to them.

The footage, believed to have been recorded on Wednesday, showed the motorist in his SUV at the intersection of Halt and Voortrekker roads in Elsies River, waiting in traffic with his window rolled down.

The robber smoothly reaches in and grabs the phone, before shoving his loot into his pocket, and then casually jogging away, fleeing through an access gate of a shopping complex.

The motorist starts to run after him, but returns to his vehicle as it starts to roll backwards as his handbrake appeared to not have been pulled up.

The driver then reverses in a bid to find a turn-off to the fenced-off shopping centre, but is blocked off by a taxi approaching the intersection.

The SUV speeds forward and makes a U-turn as the motorist appears to try and find the robber.

A second video shows the robber running back through the access gate and towards a taxi, which he and two others get into.

Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said he had submitted the video to the City of Cape Town's public emergency communications centre, as well as the law enforcement department on Thursday morning.

"The plainclothes unit within law enforcement followed and managed to find the suspect and arrest him, along with other persons of interest," Smith said.

The suspect had been in the taxi he was recorded getting into in the clip.

According to Smith, the man was wearing the same clothes as the robber in the video and had several items in his possession which he couldn't explain how he had come to possess.

Among the suspected loot was what is believed to be the stolen cellphone.

Smith on Thursday afternoon said the victim has been located in Stellenbosch and was on his way to Goodwood police station to lay a charge.  

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime
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